What is the Best Affiliate Network

Once you decide to become an affiliate marketer, the most critical decision you have to make is related to the affiliate network. Being part of a $12 billion global industry feels great but there is no guarantee of success. Your affiliate network plays a major role in affiliate marketing success. You must know what is the best affiliate network that offers quality products, ensures transparency, and sends payments on time.

Else, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble.

The worst thing being an affiliate marketer is struggling to generate sales due to poor affiliate network reputation.

Things change when you are dealing with the best affiliate network.

Why Join an Affiliate Network?

Not all merchants are part of an affiliate network. You’ll notice that a lot of sellers run their own affiliate programs. Here is an example from Bluehost that has its own dedicated affiliate program:

affiliate program example

In this case, the merchant tracks traffic, conversions, and sales itself. The payments are managed by the merchant itself.

And this makes it risky. When you join an affiliate network, the network tracks traffic and sales and manages payment. This happens to be a secure and transparent way to do business. You don’t rely on the merchant for your commission.

Here are other reasons for joining an affiliate network:

  • Affiliate networks are reliable and reputed such as Amazon Associates and ClickBank
  • You don’t have to run after merchants for your commission. The affiliate network handles everything for you
  • You can promote multiple products from different merchants as affiliate networks have several merchants listed with them
  • All the leading affiliate networks have detailed analytics and reporting dashboards for their affiliates. You can track everything easily
  • You get paid on time every time.

Things to Look for in an Affiliate Network

Selecting the right and the best affiliate network gets easier if you know how to evaluate and compare affiliate networks. There are certain things that you must look for in a network:

  1. Approval process and requirements
  2. Number of merchants and products
  3. Commission rates
  4. Fee and withdrawal methods
  5. Cookie duration.

If you want, you can give weightage to each of these criteria. For example, if you are more concerned about withdrawal methods and network fees, you can prioritize networks based on this variable.

What is the Best Affiliate Network?

Based on the criterion covered above, explore the following list of the best affiliate networks and pick the one that is best for you. 

1. Amazon Associates

amazon associates screenshot

Amazon Associates is the most reputable and popular affiliate program out there. Becoming an Amazon affiliate is a simple and quick process. You have to fill a form and your application is approved in less than a day.

Click here to read this step-by-step guide on how to become an Amazon affiliate. 

Amazon Associates is extremely easy to use with its own dashboard and reporting panel. You can grab affiliate links from the Amazon store for any product you like. It is a simple process that’s explained in this blog post

Let’s see how the Amazon Associates program meets the criterion:

  1. Approval process and requirements: No requirements and the approval process is straightforward.
  2. Number of merchants and products: You can promote any product listed on Amazon store irrespective of the seller.
  3. Commission rates: The commission varies from category to category. However, the average commission rate is around 5%.
  4. Fee and withdrawal methods: No fees. You can withdraw your money via check, bank transfer, or gift card. 
  5. Cookie duration: The cookie duration is only 24 hours.

2. ClickBank

clickbank screenshot

ClickBank is a leading affiliate network that specializes in digital products such as eBooks and courses. It has more than 24K products in 276+ categories providing you with lots of opportunities. It is a well-known affiliate network that won’t delay your payments.

The best part: Getting started with ClickBank is super-easy. Read this guide to create your account on ClickBank.

However, the platform isn’t one of the easiest. It is a bit old-fashioned and the interface (as I know) hasn’t been updated in years.

  1. Approval process and requirements: No approval process and requirements. You can simply create an account here.
  2. Number of merchants and products: It has a lot of merchants and there are more than 24,000 products listed in the CB marketplace.
  3. Commission rates: Merchants set their own commission rate which can be as high as 90%.
  4. Fee and withdrawal methods: ClickBank charges no fee to its affiliates. You can withdraw your funds via check, Payoneer, direct deposit, and wire transfer.
  5. Cookie duration: The cookie duration is 60 days.

3. ShareASale

ShareASale homepage screenshot

It is one of the oldest affiliate networks having more than 16K merchants and thousands of products to choose from. ShareASale is an extremely reputable network that ensures its affiliates are paid on time. You’ll find some of the big brands on ShareASale such as Etsy, Deluxe, Reebok, and more.

  1. Approval process and requirements: ShareASale approval time is 1-3 business days. You must have your website to get approved.
  2. Number of merchants and products: There are over 16K merchants and thousands of products. A lot of options to choose from.
  3. Commission rates: Merchants set their own commission rate.
  4. Fee and withdrawal methods: ShareASale charges a 20% commission fee from all the affiliates. The withdrawal methods include check, direct deposit, and Payoneer.
  5. Cookie duration: The cookie duration is 365 days.

Other Affiliate Networks

Here is a list of other affiliate networks that you can evaluate in the same way:

  1. CJ
  2. Awin
  3. Rakuten Marketing
  4. eBay Partner Network
  5. Walmart Affiliates.

Choose the Best Affiliate Network

Finding the right affiliate network and getting approval is essential. You know how to evaluate an affiliate network, go ahead and pick the affiliate network that you think is best for your niche and business.

You can switch to other affiliate networks later on but initially, it is best to stick with one network. So, choose smartly.

Featured Image: Pexels

More from Jesse